At the recent United Nations annual gathering of world leaders in September, President Barack Obama once again admitted to America’s role in the coup d’état which overthrew the government of the democratically elected Muhammad Mossadegh in 1953. This is not the first time Obama has mentioned this sore and defining episode in American-Iranian relations. In his 2009 Cairo speech Obama was more explicit in laying out America’s involvement. He acknowledged that during “the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”
The reason why Obama may have used the indefinite article, “a role”, in describing America’s involvement is largely because there was another external actor. If America had acted alone in overthrowing Mossadegh’s government Continue reading
Filed under British Imperialism, coup d'etat, David Cameron, Democracy, Iran, Labour Party, Mossadegh, Obama, United Kingdom, United States, Winston Churchill
Upon Margaret Thatcher’s death, her champions naturally eulogised her as a fighter for liberal democracy in Eastern Europe, while her detractors brought attention to the fact that she was highly supportive, even complimentary, of dictators and apartheid in the Global South such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Chile, Indonesia and South Africa as well as her assistance to the genocidal Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.
Overlooked in both scenarios is her support of political Islamism and by extension Jihadis. Here is Thatcher in December 1979, advocating a political Islam as a counterweight to left-wing or communist ideology which she derogatively dubbed “imported Marxism”:
“I do not believe that we should judge Islam by events in Iran…There is a tide of self-confidence and self-awareness in the Muslim world which preceded the Iranian revolution, and will outlast its present excesses. The West should recognise this with respect, Continue reading
Tony Benn is a legend in his own time to many a politicos, especially those of us who are interested in anti-imperialist politics. He is admired by friend and foe alike as the fearless embodiment of the principled and quintessential British parliamentarian.
Over the last ten years his reputation as a peacenik and a radical left-winger was further consolidated by being the head of the UK’s main anti-war organisation, Stop the War Coalition (StWC) and with his continued patronage of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC), Britain’s main pro-Palestinian organisation. Yet according to a recent article published on the Open Democracy website it seems that Benn has a particular past which brings his current status into question. According to the writer, Professor Colin Scindler, Benn used to write “uber-Zionist” articles for a pro-Israeli journal called, the ‘Jewish Vanguard’. This surely beggars the question who is the real Tony Benn in accordance with a ‘Chomskyite’ criteria. Continue reading
Stop the War Coalition (StW), Britain’s main anti-war movement held an anniversary commemoration on the 9th February 2013. It’s been more or less 10 years since over a million people marched in the UK’s capital to demonstrate against the UnitedStates-UnitedKingdom build up to the war and invasion on Iraq.
One must commend and congratulate the organisers for possessing the foresight to hold this event. They began promoting it in late October/early November 2012. Their foresight was rewarded with a fantastic attendance of many hundreds and I presume this turnout inspired everyone who attended. The number of attendees solidly confirmed that there continues to be a strong impulse in the UK against mindless adventurism, imperialist war and international brigandry.
However, the main problem with the event was the Continue reading
One of the effects of the Obama presidency is that it has turned international warmongering on its head. The script, has been somewhat flipped. During the George W. Bush era there was very little doubt who was perceived to be leading the mindless, breast-beating clamour for war. What is now clear and impossible to avoid is that the United Kingdom is assuming the lead in calling for more Western intervention in the Middle East. As such and like Libya, the British have been leading the calls for a United States led intervention in Syria.
In an interview with the historian Niall Ferguson, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, declared his “frustration” at the lack of interest in intervening in Syria. He had similarly declared his frustration when it did not seem the British were going to be granted an intervention in Libya.
Since Obama’s re-election Cameron has raised the verbal stakes in advocating intervention in Syria. Firstly, on the day of Obama’s historic re-election and on the back of peddling weapons to the Persian Gulf despots Continue reading
Filed under British Imperialism, David Cameron, Iran, Iraq, Islamism, Obama, Special Relationship, Syria, UK, United Kingdom, United States
The land of Lord Balfour hosted a rare but much needed conference on his infamous 1917 declaration. The event was convened by the appropriately named organisation, the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) on the 19th January 2013 in London. The aim of the meeting was to inaugurate a campaign for British “mistakes” and to “make reparations to Palestinians who endured human rights abuses at British hands.”
It is rare because not only is the ‘Balfour Declaration’ and its brutal ramifications greatly understudied but the entire period of British total military and political dominance of the Middle East between 1917 and 1948 is more or less whitewashed from contemporary discussion. Yet, if we are to fully understand today’s Middle East there is probably no more an important period than this.
The declaration let it be known Britain’s “view with favour” the establishment of a national home for the Jewish people in Palestine Continue reading
“The greatest peril of Imperialism lies in the state of mind of a nation which has become habituated to…deception and which has rendered itself incapable of self-criticism.” J.A. Hobson, “Imperialism: A Study.”
Immediately following his successful appearance on BBC’s ‘Question Time’ programme, the author and journalist Owen Jones dedicated his weekly column in the ‘Independent’ to lambast the current UK political spectrum. He rightly noted the almost complete banality of consensus of the three main parties on the major issues of the day. From financial regulation, austerity to foreign policy, it is literally a case of tweedledum and tweedledee when it comes to their respective political positions. Yet, there was something all very déjà vu about the article. It simply read as though it was based on a reading of Peter Oborne’s book, ‘The Triumph of the Political Class’ published several years ago on the conformity of the ruling class. Oborne, who clearly belongs to the moderate (culturally, at least) side of the Conservative Party, bemoaned the decline of traditional British oppositional politics and its supplantation by a technocratic, careerist ‘modernising’ class who rarely substantially disagree or venture outside the Westminster bubble. Owen has every right to partly rehash this argument even if it is executed with a good dose of left-wing spice.
In contrast to this contemporary dreary state of affairs Owen conjures up the Labour politicians Continue reading